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Monday, May 29, 2017

ISLAM IN MALAYSIA TURNS UGLY: POLITICALLY-SPARKED INCIDENTS AT MOSQUES MAR RAMADAN SPIRIT

Malaysian Muslims perform a special prayer called "taraweeh" in Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin mosque ahead of the holy month of Ramadan in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur June 28, 2014. Muslims in Malaysia will begin the fasting month of Ramadan on June 29, according to local media. REUTERS/Samsul Said (MALAYSIA - Tags: RELIGION)
POLITICS and religion are often said to be a potent mix. And when they are mixed, intolerance is usually not very far away, increasingly so as elections loom.
This is clearly shown in the first week of Ramadan with Pakatan Harapan politicians abused and assaulted merely for showing up at the mosque in two separate incidents.
Two politicians were abused by small groups of Muslims who claimed it was not right for a non-Muslim to step into a mosque or even take part in the breaking of fast with Muslims.
“These actions don’t make sense and are disrespectful of the Ramadan month. It’s more embarassing as it’s done in the name of Islam,” said Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a respected Muslim politician.
The first incident occurred last Wednesday in Subang, when elected representative Sivarasa Rasiah visited Masjid Annur in Kampung Melayu Subang to hand out contributions as he has regularly done for several years now.
The RM71,000 in contributions he had brought was from the Selangor government, which was to be donated to 60 mosques and suraus in Subang every year.
As in previous years, Sivarasa said he spoke a few words in the surau before handing out the gifts.
“I am the Subang representative and I was invited by the mosque as Kota Damansara is one of the seats in my constituency. There were 60 representatives from various mosques and suraus there. So I was very surprised by all the fuss,” he told The Malaysian Insight today.
The second term MP said a group calling themselves Gerakan PAMPS had demanded that he apologise for entering a mosque as he was not a Muslim. The group subsequently lodged a police report at the Sungai Buloh police station.
“This is not the first time I have entered a mosque. I have gone many times to show my respect when someone has passed away and during Ramadan. I don’t see what I have done wrong when I’m only carrying out my responsibilities as a representative chosen by Muslims and non-Muslims,” said Sivarasa.
Sivarasa said he was invited by the Kota Damansara coordinator Razlan Jalaludin.
Two days later, a group of protestors at a mosque in Penang turned nasty when they slapped a state officer.
While protesting the state government’s interference in state fatwa, the group decided to slap Major (rtd) Zaidi Ahmad for asking a question.
Zaidi said he had wanted to ask Jalinan Muslimin Pulau Pinang chairman Mohamed Hafiz Mohamed Nordin which fatwa the Penang government was supposed to have meddled in.
“People are getting slapped for asking a question in front of a mosque. The slapping is very rude and shows up the character of the person,” said Mujahid, who is the Parit Buntar MP.
The PAS turned Amanah leader said it was also regrettable that the protestors wanted to bar Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and non-Muslims from breaking fast with Muslims.
“There is no rule saying that non-Muslims must become Muslims before they can break fast with Muslims. We should have the habit of inviting non-Muslims to break fast with us to experience the beauty of Islam, and not prevent them from doing so,” said Mujahid, whose father was PAS’ first Mursyidul Am.
Meanwhile, the Penang government said it will host Pakatan Harapan’s national buka puasa event on June 11.
PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who is also strategic adviser to the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, said this in spite of the Muslim group’s assertion that the chief minister could not join Muslims in breaking fast unless he converted to Islam.
Saifuddin said Lim would attend the break fast event, along with national PH leaders such as PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysian president Muhyiddin Yassin and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.
“We will show how PH works together to create peace and promote good ties among people of different races and faiths.
“We will also have similar buka puasa events in Johor and Malacca,” he told a press conference in Komtar today.
Saifuddin said the Jalinan Muslimin Pulau Pinang group’s order to Lim to stay out of buka puasa events “was against Islam”.
It is easy to become confused when people are too obsessed over something, he said.
“It is not wrong for non-Muslims to join Muslims in buka puasa events. To turn something that is halal into haram is wrong.
“It gives Islam and the teachings of the Prophet an ugly image.”
Penang religious exco Abdul Malik Abul Kassim said the government strongly condemned the protest, which did not reflect Islam which preaches love and compassion.
He said breaking fast together with non-Muslims during Ramadan was the tradition in Penang.
He said telling Lim not to attend buka puasa events was “way backward” and vowed that the state government would continue its efforts to promote racial and religious harmony by bringing those of different faiths together to celebrate Ramadan.
Bukit Gantang MP Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who was present, said Lim had joined PAS leaders at buka puasa events in past by-election campaigns and there hadn’t been an issue.
“At the National Mosque, buka puasa events also welcome non-Muslims. There is no talk of that being haram,” he said.
– https://www.themalaysianinsight.com

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